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  • Scott in his trademark red baseball cap

I was saddened to learn this morning that director Tony Scott had committed suicide yesterday at the age of 68. Few contemporary directors have matured more interestingly than he did, and few took advantage of the Hollywood blockbuster for more idiosyncratic ends. The fascinating thing about Scott’s body of work starting with Enemy of the State—an impressive run that includes some grand entertainments (Spy Game, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, Unstoppable), two compelling failures (Man on Fire, Domino), and one masterwork (Deja Vu)—is that it didn’t contradict the crass, commercial filmmaking of his early successes (Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop II), but rather honed it into a personal, expressionistic style. Where most directors who benefited from the aegis of Jerry Bruckheimer—namely Michael Bay—developed a style based on blunt, constant spectacle, Scott became increasingly graceful in his approach, at times suggesting an abstract artist adrift in a commercial enterprise.